Are homebuilders burning bridges with real estate agents?

Alanna Strei of eXp Realty in San Diego and Cornerstone Communities’ new San Diego townhouses

Real estate agent Alanna Strei’s client wanted to check out “Tesoro Vista Del Sur,” 134 newly built townhouses in the Ocean View Hills area of San Diego. The three-story abodes were part of an array of newly built properties that homebuilders are creating across Southern California

So Strei, an agent affiliated with eXp who specializes in relocating military personnel, and her potential homebuyer strode into the sales office of Cornerstone Communities, the site’s San Diego-based builder.

“The first thing they said to me was, ‘I’m not paying you,’” Strei said of Cornerstone, who did not return numerous messages left by HousingWire. “They were so rude and off-putting.”

Increasingly, homebuilders like Cornerstone are either not paying real estate agents like Strei a commission or offering a sharply reduced one, according to agents, homebuilder industry insiders and builders themselves.

The reason is simple: demand is through the roof. 

“Do you need an agent when you have 10 buyers for every home?” said Tim Costello, CEO of Bdx Inc. a consortium of 32 different homebuilders. 

Agents don’t want to hear that. At the very least, they want to believe that homebuilders will need them again, eventually. 

“They are burning their bridges,” said Abigail Jennings of Lake Norman Realty in Cornelius, North Carolina. “And this is not going to end well.”

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